Shopify is one of the most popular complete eCommerce platforms. However, it may not be the ideal choice for everyone. If you’re new in the eCommerce market or just starting your business, you might want to consider more options before committing to one eCommerce solution. Even if you already have a Shopify store, maybe you’re looking for some alternative options that don’t charge extra fees on its users, or you want to avoid the limitations of this platform. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll help you understand what Shopify is and how it facilitates and limits eCommerce sellers, along with a detailed guide on the top 12 Shopify alternatives with their advantages, disadvantages, and pricing plans.
- Square Online Store
- Big Cartel
What is Shopify?
Shopify is one of the leading, globally-used eCommerce platforms, with hundreds of thousands of sellers and vendors using the platform to sell their products and services. It’s a complete eCommerce solution that allows people to set up their own online store and sell their goods on multiple channels. Shopify might be a good choice for your business venture when you have only basic tech skills, and you can’t hire a web developer because of limited resources.
However, Shopify is a comprehensive, feature-rich, scalable, and plug-and-play platform that offers a variety of modern templates. You can also capitalize on flexibility and ease of use, and high performance and reliability with Shopify.
If you’re looking for reasons to use Shopify, here are a few advantages of using Shopify as your eCommerce platform:
- User-friendly interface
- Several attractive themes and designs to choose from
- You don’t need to worry or stress about uptime and speed issues
- Many certified partners
- Integrated with Ordoro and can offer drop shipping
- Different pricing plans to help you scale as your business grows
Reasons to Switch to Shopify Alternatives
Shopify doesn’t offer one-size-fits-all eCommerce solutions, which means there are some features the platform is unable to accommodate.
Besides, if you’re already using a CMS like WordPress, you may want to avoid the redundant expense of paying for the second platform. If you’re an artist with a store on Shopify, you might have to pay for features you don’t need or have no use learning.
For these and more reasons, users feel the need to switch to Shopify alternatives. Fortunately, many competitors fill the gaps of a giant eCommerce platform like Shopify. By looking into details of some of the top Shopify alternatives, you might find an option that better suits your needs than Shopify.
Things to Consider When Choosing Shopify Alternatives
It’s essential to understand that there is no one perfect eCommerce solution that suits all eCommerce sellers. However, if you feel the need to look for a Shopify alternative, one effective way to find a better option is to consider issues you face in Shopify and look for an eCommerce platform that offers such features.
Here are some of the common issues that sellers experience on Shopify.
- Add-ons and additional transaction charges – you need to pay up to 2% on every transaction you make through your online store unless you decide to use Shopify’s in-house service to process all store payments.
- Use of Liquid open-source template language by Shopify – the custom template markup language by Shopify isn’t the most straightforward syntax in the market, which can make working on the platform less favourable for some people.
- Limited features in lower-tier pricing plans – the advanced features like real-time shipping rates and the option to accept gift cards are only available in the higher pricing plans of Shopify. It lacks many of the advanced features behind a paywall. If you want to sign up for some of these advanced features and extra functionality, you might have to pay a lot more than what you initially signed up for.
- Limited SEO functionalities – Many users experience rigid URL structures with Shopify, and the WordPress plugin that supports iFrames doesn’t offer the best possible SEO ranking and performance. It particularly limits larger websites where the information architecture of websites is essential. Even though you can’t customize your online store checkout page, you could still try to rank number 1 with your Shopify website.
The Best Shopify Alternatives
Here’s our list of some of the best Shopify alternatives, their pricing plans, and the pros and cons of using the eCommerce platform.
WooCommerce is a free, open-source eCommerce platform known for its user experience. It’s one of the few eCommerce platforms that’s a perfect fit for WordPress enthusiasts. You can build a decent website using the free package by WooCommerce that can compete with top-notch stores. However, if you’re looking for a comprehensive list of features and good scalability, you might have to buy more advanced functionality.
You can even build a mobile-friendly website by paying for the hosting services using WooCommerce and some tweaks. However, even if you can arrange its minimum budget, you can invest in WooCommerce features with product bundles starting at $49, and you can even pick out the extension you need.
You get a wide variety of plugins of all kinds with the platform that integrates smoothly with WordPress. For example, the WooCommerce Freshdesk plugin helps you embed a ticketing system to your store that provides customer support to your customers directly through the store.
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce offers you premium add-ons with an annual subscription or a one-time payment. But handling troubleshooting with WooCommerce isn’t always easy. They often blame your hosting or a plugin in case your store faces any glitch. Whereas Shopify simply fixes the problem without much fuss.
Smooth hosting services can affect your website performance and user experience. Using managed WordPress hosting services for your online store can offer many benefits like fast speed and more conversions.
- No additional transaction charges
- Provides free plans for sellers
- Easy to set up and use
- Post-purchase single-click upsell available
- Offers seamless WordPress integration
- Speed can be slow at times
- No hosting available
- Chances of blame game between theme designer and hosting provider
WooCommerce is a free plugin – you’ll need a WordPress site that uses plugins. You will need to pay for extensions and add-ons that you add to your WooCommerce store.
BigCommerce is one of the most well-known eCommerce platforms and a top Shopify competitor particularly when it comes to larger businesses. It might be the ideal eCommerce solution for you if you’re looking for a smooth and stress-free experience and the flexibility of a drag-and-drop editor. BigCommerce is known for providing its users with a complete cycle of eCommerce solutions for your online store.
Even though BigCommerce offers stunning themes, you’ll only get seven free themes catering to all industries. This means you’ll pay an additional amount for premium themes if don’t want the free design.
It also enables sellers to use advanced content-marketing features to promote their products on the web and improve their conversion rates. Besides, you get a wide range of in-built features, which means you don’t have to spend additional money in the app store.
Another feature to keep in mind is that BigCommerce offers streamlined multi-channel selling, which means you can manage your stores on platforms like eBay, Amazon, Facebook, and Pinterest. It also helps you manage your inventory and ensure you don’t oversell through the inventory sync option across all selling platforms.
- Add an unlimited number of products
- Delivers strong SEO performance
- Stunning theme designs
- Offers a wide variety of features, like multi-channel selling
- You don’t have to worry about additional transaction charges
- Built-in single-page checkout option
- Steep learning curve
- Very few free themes
- Can be expensive for high-volume eCommerce websites
- Website speed is inconsistent
- No one-click post-purchase upsell
BigCommerce offers four different pricing plans that cater to the different needs of their customers. The Standard plan costs $29.95 a month and is perfect for new sellers. The Plus plan costs $79.95 per month and is ideal for businesses that want to grow their business. The Pro plan costs $299.95 a month and offers a comprehensive range of features. The fourth plan is for enterprises and BigCommerce sets up a custom price based on your needs. Plus and Pro plan sellers can save up to 10% by paying annually.
Magento is a free, open-source eCommerce platform and an alternative for Shopify. It’s feature-rich and downloadable, and it’s an ideal choice for medium to large-sized businesses with an in-house team of programmers and developers who can tweak the platform up to their requirements. Magento offers advanced customizations and is free to download, though you’ll need to host it on some other platform.
But if you’re looking for a beginners’ solution with plug-and-play functionality with no tech skills, this isn’t the right platform for you. That said, if you have a development team, Magento truly comes through when it comes to optimization, scalability, flexibility, and the ability to handle huge amounts of traffic and sales.
The ideal Magento user would be an established enterprise that requires complete control over their store features and security and can invest in advanced functionalities. It could also work well for a user who is a developer as well as a solopreneur.
- No monthly service charges
- Offers inventory management features
- Wide selection of payment gateway options
- SEO tools offer robust performance
- Provides an API for web services
- Designs are responsive
- Thousands of advanced customization functionalities and extension options
- Requires professional knowledge of coding and IT security skills
- Requires hosting services
- Not suitable for beginners and novice users
The community version of Magento is free to download, but you’ll have to program your store independently. You can get customized prices for the Enterprise Edition along with support from a team of developers at Magento, but this can set you back between $15,000 to $50,000 a year.
3DCart is a hosted platform and a good alternative for Shopify for eCommerce store owners. The great pricing plans and options for all sizes of online stores make 3DCart a cost-effective option. You can sign up for a monthly cost of anywhere between $19 and $229. You’ll get a range of SEO tools, personalized products, and emails to follow up on abandoned carts in your store.
You can also use Facebook sync and many other versatile features. They also offer the option to customize the UI and UX of your store based on your requirements.
- Supports more than 70 payment getaways
- Offers in-house web design services
- Users get excellent fast load time and store speeds
- Unlimited listings
- Much more advanced in comparison with Shopify with no transaction charges
- Beginners as well big companies can afford their services
- Services are a bit sluggish
- Support is not the best
- Limited theme options
- Users tend to face issues when upgrading
- User experience and drop shipping are better in Shopify
- Can be a bit difficult for beginners to set up
The Startup Store plan is for beginners and costs $19.00 a month with 1 user access. The Basic Store plan costs $29.00 a month and comes with all essential features with 2 users’ access. The Plus Store plan is a complete marketing suite with 5 users access and a monthly fee of $79.00. The Power Store plan is the most popular and costs $129.00 a month and comes with powerful tools for businesses to grow with 10 users’ access. Lastly, the Pro Store costs $229.99, and it’s an eCommerce automation solution with 15 users’ access.
PrestaShop is a strong alternative for Shopify, particularly for entrepreneurs with a tight budget. It’s free but you will have to pay for web hosting services and your domain. PrestaShop also offers a hosted plan via its partnerships with WebHostingHub, Microsoft Azure, 1&1, TMD, and others. Even though PrestaShop isn’t as detailed with its themes and templates as Shopify, its usability is as good as can be expected from a free platform.
Trying to scale on PrestaShop can be tough when your business grows. Even though you get just one pre-installed theme, you can download third-party themes as well. You get a limited number of free modules, but the premium modules enable you to enhance the performance and functionality of your site. That said, you can build a competent online store using PrestaShop with a minimal initial investment from your end, if you have a development resource working for you or if you take out the time to look into the guides and tutorials available online.
- Platform is free to download
- No additional transaction charges
- Multilingual and supports international sales
- Paid hosting offers are available
- Very few themes and templates available
- Some tech skills required to use the platform
PrestaShop is free to download, however, you can install modules as extensions and additional functionalities for your website, which may be free or paid.
Volusion is a reliable Shopify alternative that more than 200,000 businesses are using. It’s a cloud-based eCommerce solution popular with small-sized businesses and solopreneurs with basic tech skills.
Volusion provides plans based on what number of add-ons and plugins you need to connect to your online shop. Unlike Shopify, it doesn’t charge you a transaction fee and you don’t need to stress about hosting or having to integrate necessary applications. You can also opt for standalone premium add-ons like a single-page checkout and embedded eBay integration.
If you exceed your monthly allocated bandwidth provided with your plan, it’ll add to your bill.
- Easy to use interface
- More feature-rich than Shopify
- Unlimited product listing options
- No additional transaction charges
- Free, high-quality themes
- Offers multiple payment processors
- Other hosted solutions may offer better features
- Limited monthly bandwidth with each plan
- Some coding skills needed
- Weak product search system
- No integration with PLA’s and Pinterest
- The slowest of the market-leading eCommerce platforms
The Personal plan comes with 1 user access and costs $29 a month, followed by the Professional Plan costing $79 per month with 5 users’ access. The Business plan costs $299 a month and offers 15 users’ access. Besides, if your yearly GMV is $500K plus, you can also get a customized plan with unlimited users’ access. You can save up to 10% by opting for annual payments.
OpenCart is another free Shopify alternative – it’s a modernized platform that enables its users to create professional-looking and customizable eCommerce websites. OpenCart has strong documentation, and has built up a robust user base.
OpenCart supports thousands of third-party modules and add-ons for additional features and functionalities, which most eCommerce store owners want.
- Ideal for most eCommerce stores
- Setup process is fast and launches quickly
- Supports multiple payment gateways and offers flexibility for users
- Offers a selection of themes
- Not as easy to use as Shopify
- Not system beginner-friendly
- Not as many add-ons as Shopify
- Support and documentation OpenCart provides can be difficult to understand
OpenCart is a free platform and offers more than 13,000 add-ons, extensions, and themes, as well as a wide selection of modules – some of them are free to download, and others are paid.
Squarespace is a decent Shopify alternative if your tech skills and resources are scarce and you’re planning to keep your product portfolio relatively small. Squarespace provides its users with a streamlined website builder and a wide range of templates and themes. You can build a pretty impressive and expensive-looking online store using these themes and some tweaking.
Squarespace only supports PayPal and Stripe, and even though it doesn’t charge you any transaction fee, both payment processors do. Squarespace offers limited marketing features like Google Adwords, MailChimp, share button, and Amazon affiliate tracking.
- Easy setup process
- Ideal for users who want to build simple online stores
- Offers some very impressive template and theme designs
- No additional transaction fees
- Loading speed is a bit slow
- Lacks multichannel features
- Doesn’t offer as many add-ons as Shopify
- Offers limited support for users
The Advanced Commerce plan costs around $49 per month and offers the features of the Basic plan and a few advanced commerce functions like abandoned cart recovery, sell subscriptions, commerce APIs, and advanced discounts. You can save up to 25% when you pay annually.
X-Cart is streamlined, relatively easy to use and a fast all-in-one platform developed by Qualiteam. It comes packed with various features and functionalities that take care of your various needs for your online store. X-Cart offers you an unlimited number of customizations, but you’ll need an experienced developer who can help you create a top-notch eCommerce store.
- Range of advanced features
- Easy to set up and use
- Virtual servers operate well
- Reputation for blaming your server for different issues
- Resources that can work on x-Cart are hard to find, and it’s pretty expensive to hire an X-Cart developer
You can request a quote for your eCommerce solution from the X-Cart website. They offer customized plans based on your business needs and your projected annual revenue so that you only pay for features and functions that your online business needs.
Square Online Store
The Square Online Store is popularly known as being one of the all-inclusive platforms catering to the different needs of your eCommerce store. If using Shopify feels too excessive for you, the Square Online store may be more suitable. It was traditionally known for its POS system. However, its eCommerce solution is recently gaining popularity among online sellers.
You can opt for their free plan, which charges you a transaction fee with every payment made. It also offers unlimited product listing, shopping cart functionality, and many other features. However, the payment processor support is limited to the Square platform only. Besides, if you want to use PayPal, you’ll have to opt for their paid plans.
Square Online Store is a good Shopify alternative for beginners. But as your store expands, you’ll offer your customer more payment options, which will be a problem in Square.
- Free plan for beginners
- Very easy to set up
- Direct integration with Square
- Scalability with Square can be a problem for growing businesses
- The features and functions will depend on the plan that you choose
- Only supports Square for free payment
With the Free plan, you’ll have to pay 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. The Professional plan costs $12 a month (with the same transaction fee as the free plan) and helps elevate your brand with a custom domain.
The Performance plan enables you to drive growth and streamline your business operations with a monthly cost of $26 plus the per transaction same as the free plan. Lastly, the Premium plan costs $72 a month and 2.6% plus 30 cents per transaction to help you scale your business.
Big Cartel is gaining popularity among artists because of its unique features, such as unlimited bandwidth, affordability, HTML and CSS customization, and inventory tracking. Even though Shopify might be more feature-rich, Big Cartel is more cost-effective and can be a good option for small businesses and solopreneurs. It’s also integrated with third-party platforms like Facebook, PayPal, and Google Analytics, making your job easy when you’re setting up the shop even without any coding experience.
Big Cartel doesn’t charge you a transaction fee, but PayPal does charge a high fee on your orders from the webshop. Another concern is that it doesn’t offer a phone or live chat support option, so it would make sense for you first to try the free plan.
- No additional transaction charges
- Easy to set up and use
- Even paid plans are wallet-friendly
- Integrated with PayPal
- Free plan for stores selling five or fewer products
- No phone or live chat support
- Minimal features in comparison with other platforms
- No inventory search functionality
- Not an ideal option for large companies
The Free plan limits you to five products and one image per product. The second plan costs $9.99 a month, and it limits your shop to 50 products with five pictures per product. The third and last plan costs $19.99 a month and allows 500 product listings with five images per product.
Weebly is a convenient hosted eCommerce solution for beginners looking for a free Shopify alternative. Even though Weebly’s users’ number of features and functions isn’t as high as with Shopify, the most expensive Weebly package costs less than the Basic Shopify plan. Weebly might be the right choice if you want a platform where you don’t need to pay a lot of money for basic features.
If you need to build your website using a simple web solution, then Weebly can be a good solution. Even though it’s easy to use and set up, it may not live up to your expectations regarding the scalability of your online shop.
- Very affordable
- You can launch your website within a few minutes.
- Enables you to collaborate easily with your team and offers membership areas
- Offers a free domain name
- Free trial available
- Range of tools and apps you can select based on your needs
- Doesn’t support the scalability of your business
- Not a suitable option for shops with high volume sales
- Relatively simple platform so you can’t expect high-end features and functionalities
Weebly offers three plans for online stores. The Pro plan is for groups and organizations and offers basic website, eCommerce, and marketing features and costs $12 a month when paid annually. The Business plan is ideal for small businesses and stores. It offers all basic and some advanced website, eCommerce, and marketing features and costs $25 a month when paid annually. Lastly, the Business Plus plan is for sellers who want to grow their operations, and it offers all basic and advanced websites, eCommerce, and marketing features and costs $38 a month when paid annually.
Summing It Up
Though Shopify is an obvious choice for eCommerce solutions, you may need a Shopify alternative, like when you outgrow the platform or require a more flexible solution.
Based on our experience, WooCommerce would be the most suitable alternative for WordPress-based online stores, while BigCommerce is the strongest and closest alternative for Shopify for growing startups. Different businesses worldwide are using all these eCommerce solutions, so you can’t go wrong when choosing any of these if they suit your needs.
When looking through the list of Shopify alternatives, it’s essential not to look for the best and worst options. Try to get a realistic understanding of your store’s needs, your skills, and your budget. While keeping this in mind, you can easily choose the right platform for your online store.